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Do we need more than 24bit/96Khz

Markmaguire

Well-known member
Mar 8, 2012
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If musicians and studios are recording at 24bit/96KHz, what benefit is there of listening at higher bitrates or sample rates?

Understandable if the recording is analogue, but most new music will be recorded straight to disk.
 

millennia_one

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2014
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@Markmaguire The problem is the tech is now so far ahead of the production studios I think we at the point where enough is enough. let the music production catch up if it ever will.

It's a bit like raw photography, it's getting to the stage that its just not notable beyond certain print sizes and who prints 60mp native print sizes (2meters wide by the way) outside of professional work. 24-26mp is the sweat spot.
 

12th Monkey

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Aug 31, 2015
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Given that most music is effectively cut and paste now, I'm less convinced about a hi res case for modern music that anything else. Listen to a good quality 'record the room' track from the sixties and the difference is only too apparent.
 
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Wil

Well-known member
May 8, 2020
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Some readers will be familiar with Tom Caulfield's work as "mastering engineer" at NativeDSD. He gave this interview last October:

If you don't want to read the whole interview, I'll excerpt just this as teaser:
"The big variable, however, is your DAC. If it's a chip-based Sigma-Delta converter, as are the majority of DACs, then supplying it with a DSD/PDM bitstream previously converted to DSD/PDM in a processor with greater resources will potentially sound more analog and pleasing. You're giving your DAC a bit of help through choosing an optimal format and resolution ahead of time. This can take processing load off of your DAC possibly achieving a more pleasing outcome. You really have to do some listening comparisons to determine what will work best for you and your DAC."
 

Markmaguire

Well-known member
Mar 8, 2012
32
4
18,545
Some readers will be familiar with Tom Caulfield's work as "mastering engineer" at NativeDSD. He gave this interview last October:

If you don't want to read the whole interview, I'll excerpt just this as teaser:
"The big variable, however, is your DAC. If it's a chip-based Sigma-Delta converter, as are the majority of DACs, then supplying it with a DSD/PDM bitstream previously converted to DSD/PDM in a processor with greater resources will potentially sound more analog and pleasing. You're giving your DAC a bit of help through choosing an optimal format and resolution ahead of time. This can take processing load off of your DAC possibly achieving a more pleasing outcome. You really have to do some listening comparisons to determine what will work best for you and your DAC."
Given that he is selling high res audio files, I'd take that with a pinch of salt. I record acoustic and electronic instruments at home using a pretty good audio interface (Focusrite Scarlett 18i29 3rd gen). This and other higher end equipment from UAD - used in lots of professional studios max out at 192Khz.

When we set our sample and bit rates in the DAW (digital audio workstation like Logic or ProTools, it won't be anywhere near as high as 352Khz because the processing required in the recording process would add so much latency that it would be impossible to track the recording in real time.

So any of the 'post processing' that studios do before supplying files to this guy must be upsampled and interpolated, so not adding any extra quality, only number on the file (correct me if this is wrong).
 

Wil

Well-known member
May 8, 2020
246
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370
Given that he is selling high res audio files, I'd take that with a pinch of salt. I record acoustic and electronic instruments at home using a pretty good audio interface (Focusrite Scarlett 18i29 3rd gen). This and other higher end equipment from UAD - used in lots of professional studios max out at 192Khz.

When we set our sample and bit rates in the DAW (digital audio workstation like Logic or ProTools, it won't be anywhere near as high as 352Khz because the processing required in the recording process would add so much latency that it would be impossible to track the recording in real time.

So any of the 'post processing' that studios do before supplying files to this guy must be upsampled and interpolated, so not adding any extra quality, only number on the file (correct me if this is wrong).
I need to attend to a visiting friend. Will think over your question and reply again later.

However, consider this interview excerpt with Tim de Paravicini:
"If analog tape sounds so much better than digital, what improvements should be made in A/D, D/A converters?

First of all, the frequency response should extend from 3 Hz to 50 kHz, because we experience those frequency limits. We are able to detect audio up to 50 kHz. We don't hear it, but we experience it in other ways. I can give you tinnitus very quickly if I run an ultrasonic cleaner at 45 kHz. You are aware that it's on, and your ears ring when it's shut off. On the low end, we detect mechanical vibrations down to 3 Hz. When a marching band walks past you, you feel the drums in your stomach and bones. And that's all part of the sound.

[Many] years ago, I said that digital was never going to work well in the chosen format. Digital should use a 400 kHz sampling rate and 24-bit words. Then it will satisfy the hearing mechanism and won't have a digital sound. Digital has a "sound" purely because it is based on lousy mathematics. The manufacturers presuppose too simplistic a view of our hearing mechanism.

But manufacturers don't want to change - it's the lowest-common-denominator syndrome. It's like 525-line television, which allows you only X amount of resolution. With digital, you've fixed your resolution parameters, where analog never had that problem.

I still do work on the vinyl record; it still can be advanced. The number of vinyl molecules passing the needle every second is equivalent to half a gigahertz. So there ain't a lot wrong with it, fundamentally. You can carry on improving it without losing compatibility. It's like good old 35-mm films - you carry on improving films, but there's nothing to stop you from shoving them through the same old projectors!

I've been pioneering work on a CD player that runs at 88k, but it only works with CDs that were cut at 88k.
"
 

Markmaguire

Well-known member
Mar 8, 2012
32
4
18,545
I need to attend to a visiting friend. Will think over your question and reply again later.

However, consider this interview excerpt with Tim de Paravicini:
"If analog tape sounds so much better than digital, what improvements should be made in A/D, D/A converters?

First of all, the frequency response should extend from 3 Hz to 50 kHz, because we experience those frequency limits. We are able to detect audio up to 50 kHz. We don't hear it, but we experience it in other ways. I can give you tinnitus very quickly if I run an ultrasonic cleaner at 45 kHz. You are aware that it's on, and your ears ring when it's shut off. On the low end, we detect mechanical vibrations down to 3 Hz. When a marching band walks past you, you feel the drums in your stomach and bones. And that's all part of the sound.

[Many] years ago, I said that digital was never going to work well in the chosen format. Digital should use a 400 kHz sampling rate and 24-bit words. Then it will satisfy the hearing mechanism and won't have a digital sound. Digital has a "sound" purely because it is based on lousy mathematics. The manufacturers presuppose too simplistic a view of our hearing mechanism.

But manufacturers don't want to change - it's the lowest-common-denominator syndrome. It's like 525-line television, which allows you only X amount of resolution. With digital, you've fixed your resolution parameters, where analog never had that problem.

I still do work on the vinyl record; it still can be advanced. The number of vinyl molecules passing the needle every second is equivalent to half a gigahertz. So there ain't a lot wrong with it, fundamentally. You can carry on improving it without losing compatibility. It's like good old 35-mm films - you carry on improving films, but there's nothing to stop you from shoving them through the same old projectors!

I've been pioneering work on a CD player that runs at 88k, but it only works with CDs that were cut at 88k.
"
That makes sense and I think the key thing is the first sentence. When we can digitise an analog instrument or human voice at a resolution fine enough to be imperceptible from analog, and then convert back to audio at the same rate, then the bit rate - and analogue vs digital arguments - will all be irrelevant. It's just a matter of time (and money) to have the equipment capable enough to do the A/D and D/A conversion in real time.

It's right about the frequency range too. Given that string instruments produce sympathetic harmonics at octaves (and other intervals) above and below the note played. These reinforce the main note and add to the character of the instrument.

 

Wil

Well-known member
May 8, 2020
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72
370
That makes sense and I think the key thing is the first sentence. When we can digitise an analog instrument or human voice at a resolution fine enough to be imperceptible from analog, and then convert back to audio at the same rate, then the bit rate - and analogue vs digital arguments - will all be irrelevant. It's just a matter of time (and money) to have the equipment capable enough to do the A/D and D/A conversion in real time.

It's right about the frequency range too. Given that string instruments produce sympathetic harmonics at octaves (and other intervals) above and below the note played. These reinforce the main note and add to the character of the instrument.

Do all readers interested already know of (studied or have skimmed) Recording Academy's Recommendations for Hi-Resolution Music Production pdf (published 2018/09/28):
"Our industry is evolving. The quality of music recordings being delivered to consumers is evolving as well. And, this committee recognizes the unique approach that each recording may require. We respect and understand that each creative professional relies on inspiration through his or her personal workstyle. Our goal in developing this document is to recommend ways for audio professionals to effectively incorporate hi-res audio into their creative workflow."
*Grammy Awards are presented by the Recording Academy.​
 

Wil

Well-known member
May 8, 2020
246
72
370
Incidentally, good-times-ahead for people believing 16bit/44.1 is enough:

Me, I've indicated how, going forward, I want to pay only for Hi-Res recordings.
This is an interesting article
 
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manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
916
207
19,270
Given that he is selling high res audio files, I'd take that with a pinch of salt. I record acoustic and electronic instruments at home using a pretty good audio interface (Focusrite Scarlett 18i29 3rd gen). This and other higher end equipment from UAD - used in lots of professional studios max out at 192Khz.

When we set our sample and bit rates in the DAW (digital audio workstation like Logic or ProTools, it won't be anywhere near as high as 352Khz because the processing required in the recording process would add so much latency that it would be impossible to track the recording in real time.

So any of the 'post processing' that studios do before supplying files to this guy must be upsampled and interpolated, so not adding any extra quality, only number on the file (correct me if this is wrong).
You’ve missed the point of the link completely. The 352khz is just there for headroom and to preserve the DSD data as much as possible in the mixing phase of a recording etc, if said mixing is required.
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
916
207
19,270
Incidentally, good-times-ahead for people believing 16bit/44.1 is enough:

Me, I've indicated how, going forward, I want to pay only for Hi-Res recordings.
Two things to note here:

1. I thought Tidal doesn’t sound that great at Hifi quality i.e. cd quality - and this will be especially true for older recordings.

2. Steve Guttenberg very recently said it all depends on the recording. A good recording will be even better at high res - and true high res recordings are relatively scarce regardless of the marketing.

So I would still be happy buying CDs. The truth is Sony f*****d up the marketing with SACD and should have pushed it to replace the CD, NOT supplement it.

They managed to do that from DVD->Blu-ray, and should have done it with audio on the hardware side.

So for me, especially for portability purposes, bye bye high-res, see ya.

Also, in typical Sony fashion, it decides to launch a new proprietary format in the midst of the MP3/Napster revolution.
 
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Markmaguire

Well-known member
Mar 8, 2012
32
4
18,545
You’ve missed the point of the link completely. The 352khz is just there for headroom and to preserve the DSD data as much as possible in the mixing phase of a recording etc, if said mixing is required.
I've looked into this a bit more. It seems that there are a few very specialist DAWs that will record DSD or PCM 384KHz, but they are very much the exception. Most musicians and studios will be using ProTools or Logic which can not record in these formats, only up to 24/192. It also seems that you can not do much processing in DSD and it needs to be converted to PCM to process and then back to DSD.

I think Steve Guttenberg is right. There are probably many more factors that affect the quality of the sound than the sample rate or bit rate. The experience of a good producer and sound engineer will likely make more difference - but that's a whole new can of worms to open.
 

abacus

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2008
502
219
19,270
Get the best vinyl album you can, the best turntable, arm & cartridge, then get a top quality audio interface for a computer and record the vinyl at 16/44 and burn to disc.

Drop the CD-R into a top quality CD player and do a double blind test between the vinyl and CD. (Making sure they are level matched)

When you have finished and you have not been able to tell any difference between the 2, (This always occurs) forget about Hi-res and just enjoy the music.

If you want to go further, get a top quality mastered CD of the same album as the vinyl and then do the same test, you will find you can easily tell the difference and you will wonder why you ever thought that a quality vinyl played on a quality system could be better than a quality mastered CD played on a quality player.

Bill
 

Wil

Well-known member
May 8, 2020
246
72
370
"Happiness may well consist primarily of an attitude toward time."

I understand Cantonese, there are sufficient CantoPop SACDs to amuse me for years to come e.g. my last purchase:
7+3 SACD.JPG
I've evaluated their Hybrid CD layer on my many disc players (including CD-7)…

Music-listening, I simply will devote my funds (and time) towards (exploring) Hi-Res recordings.

Name some 16bit/44.1 only recordings that may tempt me to own.
Okay, I've just Googled the-problem I had wanted to convey… key search words being "studio quality downsampled cd 44.1" and this resulted:
"In a conversation with Keith Johnson (whose ears I trust completely) he told me the single worst thing that ever happened to any of his work was the downsampling of the master tapes to CD’s. He hated the results…

Downsampling may be one of the worst things to ever happen to the CD and one of the central reasons we judge it so harshly.

It may also partially answer why we can make a digital copy of an analog event without much in the way of loss. We don’t have to mess with the final result of the conversion, just play it back at whatever sample and bit rate we recorded it at."
 
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